Oak Bay High raises over $51,000 for Tour de Rock despite COVID-19 restrictions

Oak Bay High twins, John and Chris Horwood, reveal the school’s total fundraising amount for 2020’s Tour de Rock. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Tour de Rock alumni riders enter onto Oak Bay High’s field to hear how much the school has raised. (Jane Skrypnek)
Oak Bay High students John Horwood, Ian Carmichael and Chris Horwood (left to right) all shaved their heads for the Tour de Rock fundraiser. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Tour de Rock alumni riders enter onto Oak Bay High’s field to hear how much the school has raised. (Jane Skrypnek)
Oak Bay High principal, Tom Aerts, welcomes Tour de Rock alumni riders to the school. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
An Oak Bay High student holds a poster in support of the 2020 Tour de Rock. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
An Oak Bay High student holds a poster in support of the 2020 Tour de Rock. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Oak Bay High students hold up posters in support of the 2020 Tour de Rock. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Oak Bay High students hold up posters in support of the 2020 Tour de Rock. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Oak Bay High students revealed they raised $51,700 for the Tour de Rock on Friday morning, despite the many restriction of a global pandemic.

Running a fundraiser in the midst of COVID-19 was a lot of work according to Oak Bay High student, John Horwood.

“But,” he said, “when the riders came in and we revealed the cheque, it was all worth it.”

Instead of the school’s usual massive celebration inside its gym, Oak Bay High students and faculty welcomed Tour de Rock alumni riders with posters and cheers outside their front entrance and onto their field.

Oak Bay High principal Tom Aerts, said an incredible number of students wanted to be outside welcoming the riders, but they had to limit the number to 50.

“We had to just think creatively around things,” Aerts said.

The school managed to run the majority of its regular events thanks to that creative thinking.

For the car wash, students were grouped into washing cohorts and distanced from each other. During the school’s bottle drive, students had people stay in their cars and just pop their trunks for students to remove the bottles. The annual auction was run online and the annual head shave was done in small groups.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay High students do their best for COVID-19 Tour de Rock

“It was amazing how hard and dedicated the students and the community were still supporting it,” said Aerts.

Students who participated in the fundraising events said they felt proud.

“It’s so impactful to so many people’s lives. It’s something that we should never stop doing,” said Ian Carmichael, one of several students who had their heads shaved.

Grade 12 twins, Chris and John Horwood — who presented the school’s cheque — also made the gutsy choice to let their hair go. Their motivation, they said, comes from the many losses their family has suffered at the hands of cancer.

John explained that another motivator for him to shave his head for the first time was talking with a fellow Oak Bay High student who is currently undergoing cancer treatment at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

“Things like that really make it worth it,” he said.

For Chris, this was the fourth time he has shaved his head for the Tour de Rock fundraiser. He said this year’s restrictions have made it a memorable one though.

“You never know what you can accomplish despite things going on around you,” he said.

READ ALSO: Abbreviated Tour de Rock rolls into Sidney on Thursday


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

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